A Late Winter Get Together…

We’ve had a frigid, snowy New England winter so getting to the Reservation has been challenging….  I’ve developed an outfit to help me scoot down there as often as possible but frequently the winds or icy paths keep me from going nearly as often…. When we had a sunny 30 degree day the end of last week I couldn’t wait to get there and see if the weather might bring out some of the critters that I’ve been missing….. especially to see how they are surviving this difficult time…. Little did I know .. as is so true of that magical place…. what surprises were to come……

First visit to Yates Pond to check on “my” heron….. who I haven’t seen since early January…. I’m worried but not surprised as the pond has been frozen for a couple of months….no fish to eat…. I haven’t told you about ‘my’ heron yet… or much about the pond… you’ll know more soon enough if you want… but he loves it so and has fought for it as his territory so it’s always worth a check….. and this day…. I finally see him…. (or maybe he finally allows me to see him)…. my  hands are shaking as I reach for my camera….. Great Blue Herons are so talented at blending in to their environment…. shape shifting as George Mclean, award winning wildlife photographer, claims…. and changing color ….   Today he is across the pond staring right at me and my companion…. we are both thrilled that he is doing well enough to be there…. and to see him again…. but before I can focus he takes off over our heads and we watch him land in the creek a block away….

So we are off to find him and we do…. he is in the unfrozen creek running off the Little River… looking up at us and allowing a few photographs….he looks cold but pretty fit for such a rough weather time…. we are happy…   he flies off again toward the Little River area….having had his fill of our intrusions on his solitude it seems so we go ahead to the bridge that will take us to the bridge over that River where the water birds often travel or feed….heronlatewintersmaler

As we move in the dry,withered bushes and leaves,  my eye catches a patch of red belly and I am so startled to see a small robin looking at me …. he’s a bit startled as well…after a moment of eye contact… he  hops off to join a friend as they scrounge through the twigs…. a robin!!….so common but not in winter….. here he is the messenger of  spring!…. could it be?…. the sky is a vibrant blue… the sun is bright… it’s not over.. but….birdredbelly

At the bridge we are amazed to see so many water birds gathered to sit together, swim, argue … geese, the young and mature, the ducks with a few ducklings…. and even a male hooded merganser…. 40 or 50 birds are hanging out in this area…geeselilriverlatewinter much more than usual in the winter….   We sit with them quietly absorbing the magic of the Reservation….only this moment of hanging out…. stress evaporates…. we are peaceful together….  I love all of these critters and admire their endurance and determination…. they are cold and their bellies are probably not full…. snow and ice covers what food sources remain and eating is not so easy….. and it seems as though they are tired… weary of this struggle….  I love talking to birds so I tell them these things…. and reminisce about the green grasses and clover fields of the warmer days… the fish abounding in the waterways….. the long days of  warming sun….    I tell them spring is close and their hard work is nearly over…. maybe I need to hear that…. I look at them and the geese are all facing me…. the ducks, too… and the heron swoops in and lands nearby… we sit together as one all of us surviving our troubles…. renewal around the corner… the hardest stretch at the end, perhaps…. but my wish is to see their babies in the late spring and watch how they flourish as we share our time on earth together……littlerivergettogetherlatewintergooseonicereflect copy

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